The video was made as a reaction to social media posts supporting excessive tanning, with hash tags such as #SkinCancerHereICome and #SkinCancerDontCare.
Do people realy not care, or underestimate the danger. Are they misled by the under reporting of skin cancer generally, perhaps not aware that melanoma and a few others variants can turn into cancer of far more than the skin.
Choice number one relates to the origin of skin cancer, UV rays from the sun. You can choose how long to spend in the sun and turn ten shades darker if you wish but we wonder if that choice would be made in the face of the facts.
The primary cause of most skin cancers, including melanoma, is over exposure to the sun. A statement that is not in dispute.
Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and kills nearly 2,300 people a year. Not by attacking your skin but by spreading throughout your body, politely known as metastasing, more accurately organ destruction.
Interview research is limited and there will be exceptions but we don’t believe most people make a conscious choice to risk melanoma. They are simply unaware of the level of danger from the sun and possible consequences.
Your Warning Is Too Late
The next choice is what to do if you feel there is a problem. A mole which seems odd, or is growing abnormally, an unexpected new mole, other lesions where the pigmentation is different, or with associated redness, or swelling.
Being too busy, or perhaps hoping they will go away are natural feelings, which bring in the choice on whether to seek medical support. In a sense, the most critical decision you will make on melanoma.
The facts are again known. Stage 1 melanoma is highly treatable and has a 5 year survival rate close to 100%. This declines as the cancer is allowed to progress and by stage 4, as of 2017, the 1 year survival rate was just over 50%.
Neither do the bare figures reflect the anguish of patients and their families, or the hardships they may have gone through trying to solve the problem. There may also be a little confusion on available treatment.
Melanoma Can Be Treated Now
New developments on melanoma treatment are well publicised, not least immunotherapy. A process where chemical signals that cancers use to put the brakes on the immune system are interrupted, by drugs such as ipilimumab, or nivolumab.
The success they have brought is truly welcome, the 50% stage 4 survival rate has moved from 1 year to 5 years in trials. There is still a danger that feeling a cure is available will influence the two basic choices.
Surgery may still be required, the drugs can have notable side effects at the time, including diarrhea, nausea, itching, rashes, vomiting, headaches. These can be so marked that patients are unable to continue.
The long term effect on our immune systems is not yet known and whilst the developments are a sign of great progress, they will not work for everyone.
Having better treatment for late stage melanoma is a breakthrough but please do not let this influence the second decision. Hoping for a cure if things get too bad is well down the list from choosing to seek urgent care.
We hope everyone will make a good first choice, spend a reasonable time in the sun, protect themselves with sunscreen and suitable clothing. Then we may never meet them and their lives will be uninterrupted.
If the second choice does come around, we want people to seek immediate, professional care. Melanoma treatment of many types has advanced in recent years and if you choose to find prompt treatment, you might be surprised how minimal this can be.
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